Ottawa’s Clearford eyes turnaround through acquisitions as shares sink to 52-week low

Water

Ottawa-based Clearford Water Systems (TSX-V:CLI) is looking to end its reliance on subcontractors by acquiring companies capable of bringing its wastewater treatment operations and services in-house, executives told shareholders at its annual general meeting this week.

The announcement comes as long-time chairperson Rob Bryden departs the firm and after leadership expressed uncertainty in the future of the clean-tech firm. Clearford currently carries an accumulated deficit of $45 million, and indicated in a note accompanying its most recent financial results that the company must soon attain positive cash flows or else risk collapse.

In a statement released Thursday, CEO Kevin Loiselle – who will replace Mr. Bryden as chair – indicated the company has a renewed vision for the future.

"We now recognize that full control of all aspects of delivering the Clearford One solution is required for the long-term success of the company," he said, adding the local company has a “verbal commitment” for funding its new business plan.

That strategy involves the company delivering its own maintenance and operations services, rather than relying on subcontractors. Mr. Loiselle says Cleaford is in talks with a series of acquisition targets that would fill these roles at the company, with the first expected to close by the end of this fiscal year.

On the TSX Venture Exchange, Clearford shares fell one cent at the opening bell to reach six cents per stock, a 52-week low. The company’s share prices have steadily declined since peaking at 50 cents roughly two years ago.

At the AGM, shareholders voted to confirm Clearford’s slate of five incumbent board members.

Shareholders also voted to provide stock options in UV Pure, a subsidiary of Clearford, to two senior executives totalling 480,000 shares.